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A Day With Nelson Molina of Treasure in the Trash

In a city filled with some of the world’s most recognizable museums, one unique collection has been growing on a sleepy corner of East 99th Street for the past 34 years. New York City Dept. of Sanitation engineer Nelson Molina has been collecting relics from his route through Spanish Harlem, and curating them with museum-caliber detail; the second floor of his district’s headquarters slowly evolving into a sprawling exhibit.

Treasure in the Trash is physical proof that one man’s trash truly can be another man’s treasure. The museum, organized by theme, encompasses everything from a collection of African folk art to a wall of Furbies – and Molina can tell you when and where he collected just about every piece.

Treasure in the Trash is open to the public every Wednesday, or by private appointment.

All photos by Ben Weigher